HALIFAX – Halifax has submitted its pitch to lure online retail giant Amazon to the city, but even the bid’s biggest proponent admits it’s a long shot.
Mayor Mike Savage would not reveal specifics about the city’s submission for the company’s new headquarters, but said Halifax’s quality of life was emphasized.
“If Amazon wants to give employees a city that they can fall in love with, I think Halifax is that city,” said Savage in an interview ahead of Thursday’s deadline for proposals.
“If it comes down to … the inducements that a province or a city can offer, financial only, then we’re most likely not a player. But if it comes down to a bigger picture, which includes a number of things, then I think Halifax has a very competitive case to make.”
More than 100 cities in the U.S. and Canada have expressed interest in pursuing the project, and Savage conceded Halifax’s bid is a “long shot.”
But he said regardless of whether Halifax wins, the effort has positioned the city to attract other tech businesses.
“The city has been growing for a number of years now. We’ve become a tech hub. We could not have bid on this five years ago. But now we have so many companies in that sector that have proven that you can make a living in Halifax,” said Savage.
Amazon announced last month that it is hunting for a second North American office, saying it would spend US$5 billion to build the new headquarters for as many as 50,000 employees.
The company said it wants to be near a metropolitan area with more than a million people; be able to attract top technical talent; be within 45 minutes of an international airport; have direct access to mass transit; and be able to expand that headquarters to more than 740,000 square metres in the next decade.
Savage said he’s aware Halifax does not meet all the requirements, but said that doesn’t mean the city is not a “serious competitor.”
Canadian cities including Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Edmonton, have expressed interest in pursuing the project, but it is unclear how many will submit a bid by Thursday.
Amazon has said it will make a final decision on the second headquarters next year.